Saturday, September 30, 2006

Kugahara Elementary School

Yesterday was...awesome! We traveled to a Tokyo suburb, Kugahara, to visit the local elementary school. The school is well-known for its excellent teachers and open-door policy (none of the classrooms have doors, and the students are encouraged to enter into the common spaces to play and study). We were divided into groups of 2 or 3 and assigned to specific classrooms. Me and my partner Lillian (hey Nanny!) were given class 5-3 (grade 5) to spend the day with.

A guy named Louie and I had volunteered to conduct the opening ceremony introductions for the CIEE group. As is usual for me when it comes to said type presentations, we of course did nothing before the event. We did however have a minimal discussion in order to decided who was going to speak when. And so Louie opened speaking in English and, as the audience consisted of mostly 6-12 year old Japanese kids, I made my best attempt at Japanese translation. We went back and forth as such for about 5 minutes before closing out. Whether or not much of it was understood is hard to say. But at least people laughed (at us or with us?)! The hardest part was probably that there were 700+ people in the crowd (as opposed to the 50 I for some reason originally envisioned).

I spent the day in class 5-3...

Louie and I giving the opening speech.

It's interesting because they (little Japanese folk) either love you and won't let you go, or are so frightened they just stare at you in white shock.

My partner Lillian and I (can you see us?) with the whole lot of 'em!

Recess just began...and I was very very amused.

I'm smiling because while the 3 Japanese kids are trying to explain to me
the rules of their playground game, the 30 other kids in my class are running circles in a really convincing remake of Lord of the Flies.

Do they know who Harrison Ford is? No, but they love Indiana Jones!

More Pictures from the Day found on the Kugahara Site


Michael said...

Brian, it sounds like you're having a great time! Reading about you being at a Japanese school reminded me of a blog I read a few years ago about the experiences of a a guy in the JET program. Check it out when you get time.

Rose said...

Hi Bri!
I'm sure the students appreciated (and maybe had a few giggles!)at your attempt to translate for Lillian.
The kids are so adorable!
Let us know more...
Love and hugs,

Chris said...

They don't have doors? Do they expect children to walk into different classrooms and learn new things?

Lisa said...

cute! did you take one home with you? such a good opportunity!